You have lodged yourself in my head. Perhaps in the sinus. Which explains why my head rattles when I move it. You swing from end to the other. The more I shake my head to dislodge you, the more it hurts. When I sit quiet, then you settle yourself. You see. I cannot fight it. It comes so naturally that it is pointless to fight it.
Everyday, I bring you a vessel full of stories. We warm it up. From there emerge imaginary friends. Marienne and Swami. This vessel is our Malgudi. Imaginary maps are strewn across the floor, and I tell you stories that my grandmother told me. Like a pai (straw mat), the map leaves impressions on our young calves. In the afternoons, after yawning towards the evening coffee, we trace the impressions of straw with tiny fingers. Your blue fingers and my pink ones. We could be eight years old now. You look at me with the memory of the story now sinking into your stomach. Was that true? I point to my grandmother and say – They say she never lies.
The memory of sleepy but sleepless summer vacations. Forbidden to run out in the sun, we play cricket in the small yard, under the shade of a mango tree. Half-eaten mangoes, rejected by birds fall like punctuation marks to mark childhood. Or when we were lying flat on our stomachs, with faces turned towards each other and whispering about our respective treasures. Our thousand and one secrets. You fall asleep with your mouth a bit open, and I stare at a fly which seemed to want to enter your mind. The garlic from your mouth was enough to scare a thousand flies. Lord of Garlic and Lord of the Flies.
This is my morphine. My constructed memory that numbs growing up. Perhaps Morpheus is kind on some days because the vast field of remembrance and pickles warms its way like a pillow under my head. The sinus is then balanced.